Is there enough space in your Wardrobe?
Many years ago I read an article about how to attract the right partner into one’s life. One particular question has stuck with me for over twenty-five years. “Is there room in your wardrobe to accommodate someone else’s clothes?” At the time, my wardrobe was full. My life was full. It made me think. Now it’s making me think again, this time about my business development goals.
My business life is a balance. Delivering what my clients need. Creating and refining business content. Marketing. Administration. (Stated in order of importance and enjoyment.) I have great clients and I am grateful for the delivery element of my role. However, I’d like to do more of it. With an ingrained strong work ethic, I find it hard not fill every spare moment with something. As part of my current new-financial-year business planning process, I’m questioning myself as to whether or not there’s space in my diary for more clients!
I should point out that the article didn’t propose that the half empty wardrobe was the only strategy in searching for a partner! Merely a subtle and potentially overlooked one. Understanding why one wants a partner, being clear on the partner one would like, making oneself attractive to that kind of partner (which might take some time!), getting out there, and persisting in one’s quest. All noble and perhaps obvious action steps. The ‘making space’ strategy is perhaps an overlooked refinement.
There are strong parallels in business. We need a strong reason for wanting to work with our chosen client base, we need to be clear on who we wish to serve, we must attract them with an appealing proposition, we must find where those future clients hang out, we must be persistent, and we must ensure we have adequate capacity to cope with there requirements.
If we have a factory then the potential capacity problem is more obvious. If we were approaching full utilisation and wanted to continue growing we would have to invest in more production capacity.
On the service side of the business, perhaps the capacity issue is less obvious. Even if we supply product from a factory, there’s always a service element to what we do, both before and after any sale and certainly before a prospect becomes a client. When we’re operating below capacity, there can be a tendency to over-service clients, to be slightly less than efficient when it comes to administration, to create new initiatives and activities (that weren’t part of our plan), and generally fill the time that we have available, even though we may not realise what we’re doing.
As I’m preparing my plans for a new financial year I’m deliberately building in some non-core projects that I can drop immediately as soon as I meet the two or three additional clients I’d like to work with. I’m going to keep my delivery, service development, marketing and administration time-bound and proportional to the size of my business. I’m going to make sure I have the time available to absorb those additional clients.
Do you know specifically what you’d like to achieve from your business development efforts? Are you actively getting out there and making it happen? Have you checked that you have the capacity to absorb more? (Whether it’s more machines, more people or more space in your diary.) Is there space in your wardrobe?